Luke 9:28-43a a sprinkling of Exodus 34:29-35
Perfect, you can look out over the mountaintops, breath the crisp clean air, perfect; clarity, beauty, the beginning of spring, and then you are interrupted. Not alone someone asks a question, or a dog is coming by too close, or the noise of all the other travelers because in North Conway, New Hampshire your lucky if you ever find a spot where you're truly alone. The not so perfect world come crashing on in, the moment is lost from what it was. The return of the everyday happens and you walk away.
Isn't this exactly what the scripture is telling us today? It's perfect: Peter, James, John, Jesus an unexpected appearance from Moses and Elijah. Let's capture this. Build something so we can dwell here forever, says Peter. Then they have to come down the mountain and face the need of someone else and their own failure. The world comes crashing back in and the moment before is lost.
Why do we think everything can be made perfect? Isn't that what the church strives for? If you just wouldn't, oh we can't talk with you, you're sinning or sinful, back slidden. When you get things back right, when you repent; and we won't look at our own failures present or don't want to come down from our own mountain top to take care of it. How long?
Who can make the best, most perfect candidate? Did you hear about so and so? Did you know what someone else did? And we don't get down in the dirt, or wrestle with our own demons and try to figure out or journey with imperfection. I mean isn't that the example of God all throughout the Bible: a prostitute named Rahab, Moses who murdered an Egyptian, Jeremiah who was a young boy, Peter who says the wrong thing and works from his impetutious heart.
We used to say as the church that you couldn't hang out with the people Jesus did or you would end up like them. Now decades later we have churches who do comprehensive ministries with the poor, minister to prostitutes, go to jail, help the addicted, become an open house for the homeless and we have started to hang out with these people because we've been forced off the mountain top of full churches and no need to reach out beyond ourselves. We've had to come into direct contact with the imperfect world and we still have yet to lay down the life jacket of perfection and cleaned up that we think people have to enter the church with.
Perfection only exists for the moment on the mountain top. None of us are cut from that cloth. We all make the trip down and face the everyday and the Spirit of transformation isn't lost on the mountain, it comes with us to do the everyday, dirty, imperfect work that each of us can do as the church in the world. If we choose to try.